Daily Archives: July 10, 2012

From “Music For The Soul” by Alexander Maclaren

I came across this in my devotions tonight.  It gave me something to think about.  Perhaps it will give you something to ponder as well.

OUR LEADER IN THE WORLD’S WARFARE

In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. – Joh_16:33

If the revelation made to Joshua and his host be for us as truly as for them a revelation of who is our true leader, surely all of us in our various degrees, and especially any of us who have any ”Quixotic crusade ” for the world’s good on our consciences and on our hands, may take the lessons and the encouragements that are here. Own your Leader. That is one plain duty. And recognise this fact, that by no other power than by His, and with no other weapons than those which He puts into our hands, in His Cross and meekness, can a world’s evils be overcome, and the victory be won for the right and the truth. I have no faith in crusades which are not under the Captain of our salvation. And I would that the earnest men, and there are many of them, – the laborious and the self-sacrificing men in many departments of philanthropy and benevolence and social reformation – who labour unaware of who is their Leader, and not dependent upon His help, nor trusting in His strength – would see beside them the Man with the drawn sword in His hand, the Christ with the sharp two-edged sword going out of His mouth, by whom, and by whom alone, the world’s evil can be overcome and slain.

Own your General; submit to His authority; pick the weapons that He can bless; trust absolutely in His help. We may have, we shall have, in all enterprises for God and man that are worth doing, need of patience, just as the army of Israel had to parade for six weary days round Jericho blowing their useless trumpets, whilst the impregnable walls stood firm, and the defenders flouted and jeered their aimless procession. But the seventh day will come, and at the trumpet blast down will go the loftiest ramparts of the cities that are walled up to heaven, with a rush and a crash, and through the dust and over the ruined rubbish Christ’s soldiers will march and take possession. So trust in your Leader, and be sure of the victory, and have patience and keep on at your work.

Do not make Joshua’s mistake. “Art Thou for us? ” – Nay! ” Thou art for ME?.” That is a very different thing. We have the right to be sure that God is on our side, when we have made sure that we are on God’s. So take care of self-will and self-regard, and human passions, and all the other parasitical insects that creep round philanthropic religious work, lest they spoil your service. There is a great deal that calls itself after Jehu’s fashion, ” My zeal for the Lord,” which is nothing better than zeal for my own notions and their preponderance. Therefore we must strip ourselves of all that, and not fancy that the cause is ours, and then graciously admit Christ to help us, but recognise that it is His, and lowly submit ourselves to His direction, and what we do, do, and when we fight, fight, in His name and for His sake.

A Thought on Struggling

As is my usual habit of an evening, I was going through my e-mail, and reading the posts of those I’ve subscribed to.  There’s quite a few.  Tonight there were three that spoke to me.  Let me rephrase there were three that God used in a special way to speak to me.  The order in which I read them is not the order He used in speaking to me through them, but leave it to God to speak to me in a way that got my attention.  The three posts were (not in order) God Sees YouGrace Is The Only Thing That Delivers Human Beings From Evil, and What Does God Got To Do With Me?  All three of them are great, but together, they reveal a message that cannot be given enough as far as I’m concerned.  At least given to me!

As you know, I’ve been trying to write more of my own feelings, and about myself.  Hard to do.  Yet, I’m beginning to understand that it’s something I need to do.  In case you didn’t know I tend to be mule-headed, intensely stubborn, and therefore most of the time the lessons I learn tend to be very painful.  It pains me to say that some of them I’ve had to repeat, but to say or imply that I’ve learned all my lessons the first time around would be a lie, and I try to be honest.

You know that I struggle in my walk with the Lord.  I haven’t made any secret of it.  I don’t know how smart it is to confess to others that my faith is weaker than what I want for it to be, but since I’ve never laid claim to being smart,  I can at least hold my head high in the sense that I’m maintaining my integrity.  If I were to confess a couple of the incredibly stupid things I’ve done over the last couple of weeks you would most certainly shake your head.  Believe me I’ve been shaking mine, and I did them!  I’d tell you what they were, but right now they’re still stinging pretty good, and it’s going to take a little time for me to let them go.  Notice I mentioned “me” letting them go.  I’ve confessed them, and I know that God has already let them go.  Here’s where I make a confession (since it seems I’m in the mood for making one) I have a hard time letting go of mistakes.  I tend to keep punishing myself for them.  I’ve often thought what an insult it is to God that I act as if what He sent His son, Jesus, to do for me isn’t enough.  I do.  I just have to keep reminding myself of it. I’m praying the day will come when I don’t remind myself anymore……

Sometimes, it seems to me, as if I’m full of contradictions!  I’d be lying if I said I never felt like a hypocrite because I have.  There’s an old saying that goes the things you hate most in other people are the things you have inside of yourself.  I can see the truth in those words.  I hate lying, hate it with a passion, hate stealing, lying, cheating, dishonesty in all it’s forms, and yes, I’ve been dishonest in every single way possible.  I don’t say this because I’m proud of it.  I say it because it’s true.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to say that I’m not guilty of even one of those things…… I’m not going to be able to say that, but I’m comforted in the knowledge that I’m going to have someone say it for me.  That is essentially what Jesus did for me, did He not?

The thing that saddens me, grieves my heart, is the fact that to this day, this very day, after having been a Christian many, many years, I still struggle with “Knowing” this in my heart.  There are days when I still “wonder” if I’m a Christian.  I don’t like admitting that but it’s true.  A lot of people believe in God, even the devil does that.  A lot of people acknowledge Jesus Christ…… I know that there are a lot of Christians in this world who have no real sense of peace or assurance that they’re truly a Christian because I’m one of them, well not so much now, but there are still days……

The thing that comforts me is reading my Bible.  I think where people struggle is in that they don’t afford themselves the luxury of knowing God’s Word, of hearing his voice speak to them, of seeing His promises in front of their eyes.  I think it’s a result of not spending enough time with Him in prayer, in talking to Him about the things that truly rend their hearts.  Sometimes we want the quick fix to our problems, and we’re very quick to judge others and their actions and make our own conclusions, but I don’t believe God is quite so quick.  I believe He’s a little more patient with me than I am.  The Christian life is a process, it’s a transformation from what was, to is, to becoming what will be…. Yes, I have my struggles, as we all do, but I’m not giving up on becoming what I know God wants me to be, and I know that He didn’t give up on me.